New Orleans,
10:58 AM

Audubon responds to injury by gorilla enrichment item at the Zoo

Audubon Zoo regrets the unfortunate incident that occurred Sunday, March 5, 2017, when a guest was harmed unintentionally by an enrichment item from the gorilla habitat. First responders attended to the guest immediately and cared for her.

"The safety of our guests and employees is of utmost concern," said Audubon's Vice-President of Marketing, Chimene Grant. "Audubon Zoo’s First Responders immediately attended to our guest for care and assistance."

The Zoo's animals receive enrichment tools daily. Enrichment at the AZA-accredited zoos across the country typically includes new food items, objects to manipulate, and activities designed to provide our animals with opportunities to express natural, species-appropriate behaviors, whether it be foraging, exploring, playing, or other activities. This particular enrichment item was a small piece of wood with small holes for food and treats such as honey and raisins. This enrichment item has been removed from the gorilla habitat.

"The health and welfare of the gorillas cared for at Audubon is paramount," said Audubon Zoo Vice-President and General Curator, Joel Hamilton. "We work to ensure that the physical and psychological needs of our gorillas are met by following best practices for animal care." 

Hamilton added, "Gorillas in the wild face many challenges today. Audubon is committed to taking a stand on critical issues facing apes in the wild and to providing excellent care for the gorillas at the Zoo."

Audubon Zoo is working with the injured guest to make sure she gets the medical care she needs.

"We are examining how this unfortunate accident happened and will quickly address any concerns," said Grant.

The incident has been reported to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Accreditation Commission for review as per standard protocol.

Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.